Back to Peace

This week I struggled in a way that feels foreign to me. I couldn’t find grounding. Monday I took a leave of absence from my job and drove to Florida. It was a hard four days there. I kept coming out of my skin. And yet, I kept reminding myself to be. “Be in this moment. Allow for the discomfort and just be without judgment.”

I did. I have. Sometimes failing miserably. I kept returning to years ago when I had several children with severe mental health issues all under one roof. I forgot a lot of it. Until this week.

Tuesday I spent part of the day with my daughter supporting her as she lost another child. I sat in gratitude that the baby never went home with her. I sat in the knowing that the baby is safe. I sat. That’s all I did with her was sit.

My daughter was happy, initially, knowing I was on my way. And then that moment was clouded by the reality that I was on my way which meant she was going to have to own up to her stuff. Or not!

The navigation of it all is daunting. I had forgotten how difficult it is with her. I know nothing. I am having to keep my little one, her first daughter, away from her…leaving her with my mother in-law as I moved into another compartmentalized mode. It all becomes a massive puzzle of what I can and cannot do moment by moment with my daughter. She’s an adult. A stubborn one. She’s dangerous in the way her mind works.

Tuesday was f*cking hard! It wasn’t just witnessing her lack of mental capacity to understand it all. It was the legalities and feeling through the sadness. It was the attitude she carries as if she’s owed something and in no way holds herself accountable. She is nasty and vicious and hurtful. And she hurts because she’s hurt. Her demeanor is one of the most challenging ones I’ve ever encountered.

By the time the afternoon rolled around I was exhausted. I drove back to my in-laws sobbing in the car. I had my guard up for a few hours and I felt I had depleted all of me. She refuses help. She rather be homeless. She refuses assistance for her mental health. She won’t get on birth control. And I know all of this well. I see it in my job. But, shit, when it’s your own kid it tears every fiber inside. I love her. I love her so much and because of that love I have to stay away from her. She will shred that love and use it to manipulate in order to get whatever she feels she deserves.

I am reminded of her strength and determination. I am reminded of mine. No matter what I say it’s not sufficient. And that’s okay. This is her journey. We all have one.

It’s a lot. It’s too much. The energy choked me but I allowed for my spiritual truth to guide us both. My emotions are still surfing sacred water this weekend. I am lead by divinity. I am lead by love.

It will be alright. Both new babies are safe. She will continue to do what she does. I must be a tower of certainty and responsibility while she navigates through her own mind of chaos. She will figure it out in her own manner: A mind that will never see the world the same way most people see it.

All I am asked to do is just be in this moment. Everyday. I returned home last night. A twelve hour drive with a four year old is always challenging. She did great. And my heart today is tender but I’m home. I’m at ease and I’m back to peace.

May you find peace within as well!

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You don’t get to leave here alive!

light on person

We as humans tend to beat ourselves up for things we’ve done in the past. We carry embarrassment, guilt and memories like a giant sack of potatoes across continents on our backs. Every so often we sit the sack down and let things go to no sooner pick it right back up with regrets, anger, resentments, and shame. Oh…that beautiful word called shame. No one seems to be exempt from it. We feed it, hate it, and give power to it above everything else at times. We create plays and dramatic events with Shame as the protagonist and the antagonist. It’s a one-man show!

The reality is that we all do stupid things. We all have had moments of carelessness, irresponsible behaviors, and absolutely no regard for our psyche. I have done things that have questioned my moral compass in the past. I have lied, cheated, drank way too much, taken drugs, slept with people I don’t even know their names, and have taken the most disgusting attitude condemning myself for it. I have self-sabotaged myself and relationships because I haven’t felt lovable or good enough. I had no value to my greatness for being alive. But see, the past is gone. I don’t live there anymore. Being on a spiritual path for the past few years has allowed me to let go of the shame and guilt for things that brought me here. I went from that point to this point. I wouldn’t change a thing. Being promiscuous, especially when dealing with a rape I didn’t address for 18 years, is one of those things that I’ve had to accept and let go. I don’t recall the fun in it now but I know that at the time it was an addiction of sorts. I did what I did on the down low without a single person knowing it. I purposely used sex and alcohol as an escape as well as a punishment. For years after my escapades I became numb with my partner. He went off to do his cheating and I didn’t do anything but excuse it as “I deserve this. Years ago I did this. Now it’s his turn.” Imagine the messed up psychological process behind it all. Imagine the stories I carried just because I thought I was not worth anything better!

My children, especially when I acquired all six of them, forced me to love harder. They took me out of my own existence and learned to love unconditionally. It was powerful. I still carried those sacks of regrets around the world but couldn’t focus on them as much because I had others depending on me. Self-sabotaging wasn’t soever present when they were growing up. I had no time for the nonsense. There were moments of doubts, depression, sadness, lack of worth, no self love…and always lurking in the distance the shame for not being a good human being. But, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was born to be a mother and that kept me going. I could love another like no one’s business. That, I could do and I was good at it. For the first time in my life I had something to give that didn’t require my past. My expectations of humanity were on the right track.

Ah…those expectations of being “a good human.” Who makes this up? Who determines our worth? Who says we are good or bad? Religion, politics, some council in the sky…I don’t know. I don’t know why we judge and criticize others based on what we truly don’t follow or understand. Our lesson here is to live and learn and evolve. How can we understand another when we don’t accept all that we are: the flaws, the mistakes, the wrong decisions…. We ARE humans. Humans get to mess up, hurt, hate, judge and criticize all they want…the problem is when it is done towards another without accepting their own imperfections.  Fear allows us to stay stagnant because what we don’t know we cannot accept.

If you want to live a life of authentic power you have got to let go of that sack. Drop it!!! Drop it right now. Stop punishing yourself. Stop the victimization. Stop the martyr-ship. Stop the insane self-sabotaging. Stop replaying the past. Aren’t you here because of it? Aren’t you evolving? Stop judging, projecting, criticizing others because of your own crap. You get to determine what happens now.

The other day when I visited a homeless shelter to drop off clothes and food I came across a young man. He was no older than my eldest son. He was lying on the cold gravel without a shirt and some raggedy shorts sucking on a candy. I asked him something and he was nasty. I remained kind with a “thank you.” He apologized. I asked if he needed anything and he replied that he was fine. He wasn’t fine. He was fractured, broken in pieces, and full of himself lying on a giant sack of shame. The rage, anger, and self hatred could be seen from the moon. I cannot judge this soul. I would have to condemn my own past and the times I thought I deserved nothing more than to live on the streets.  I could just as well been this guy, or the prostitute on the next street, or the drug addict down that same road.

What constitutes being human? What makes us good and lovable and righteous? What did I do to make the right choices? I believe I had good people who cared and showed me their love. In the end love has a lot to do with our choices in life. We all want love and appreciation. The lost and hopeless seem to have forgotten what those things are. I am always deeply touched by this lack of knowledge. We all deserve love, forgiveness, and acceptance. We are all part of this crazy and yummilicious human race.

Do yourself a favor…stop the self-sabotaging. Drop the past. Start today. You are beating yourself up for no reason but as punishment for what happened to you. You got raped, molested, beaten, abused, and whatever atrocity happened to you…guess what…here you are! Your parents didn’t love you or loved you too much and over-protected you. You got your ass beaten everyday for no apparent reason but because you were there. You lost all your belongings and monetary valuables. You lost your job. You got sick. You lost a limb, a breast, or whatever else you’ve encountered through disease. You lost your hope, your way, and your pride. You are here and you made it through the shit storm. You made it through all the horrific events. I am proud of you. Oh my God…I AM so deeply proud of what you have done with your existence. You are breathing, you are surviving, you are existing here on this marvelous earth. You get to decide what you will do from here on. You cannot continue to blame your ex, your friends, your parents or anyone else.  Find something outside of you to sustain you like the wisdom of divinity, faith, belief or whatever you want to call it.  Stand in your glory and light. Embark in the mysteries and mysticism of this light. Do not allow Ego to dictate your worth. Do not allow the media and others to put a price on you. Get out of your own way. Stand up! Stand in gratitude for all that you’ve overcome. Own your part in your drama. Be responsible for it all but let it go. Let…IT…GOOOOOO! No one can do this for you. You get to decide what you carry around. Stop the insanity and start loving all that you have become. Whatever you don’t like…damn it…change it! You are not a tree rooted to the earth waiting for someone to move you. After all, sweetheart, no one gets out of here alive. Not even YOU! I love you.

8 things a rape at 18 taught me in my 40’s

letting go of pain

It took years for me to openly discuss the violation of what happened to me at 18 when a man grabbed me, placing a knife to my neck, breaking my panty hose, raising my skirt, and fisting me while licking my face with spit and saliva. It took years to get his smell off me, his words out of my head, and feel that my vagina and all its parts were not dirty. To this day I can still be transported back to that moment when I smell bad breath or tooth decay in someone but it doesn’t affect me the way it did for so long.

I was 36 years old when I finally said it out loud. “I was violently raped. I am not disgusting. I am not unlovable. I am a sexy woman who had an experience that ultimately changed her life.” Like millions of others I have decided not to use it as a weakness. I survived that and many other events in this lifetime. It was in my forties that I began to embrace the lessons rape taught me.

  1. I had female issues all of my life. I had horrific periods, cysts, and breast problems. I had my uterus removed at age 39. And, even though I was done with having children after raising six of them, I still felt a loss. I was less of a woman. I began to think of my vagina and counterparts as a monster. My womanhood was a curse rather than a blessing. I couldn’t make peace with my sexuality. In my forties I began to feel like I had never felt before. I left a destructive relationship of many years that had continued the emotional abuse and manipulation that the rape had started. I began to embrace the woman without all the stigma I had attached to my femininity. Wisdom comes with age.
  2. I am not my body. I began to find spirituality, self-love and acceptance. Somewhere in my forties I didn’t think of the rape. I no longer had nightmares waking up in a cold sweat seeing the cratered-face man with curly hair coming after me with a knife. My worst fear had already happened. I wouldn’t attract that kind of behavior ever again through a constant fear based thought process. I would not be attracted to dominating narcissistic men. Whatever we give power and thought continues to unfold. We attract through fear.
  3. Something happens to people who have been abused: they begin to come across others. In my forties, after buying a retreat center with my best friend, I began to notice many women walking into our office with the same distinctive marking. I could tell by the body language that they had been molested or raped. There’s something left behind in an abused person. It’s a trademark that follows us around. Some people (men or women) allow the act to determine who they become. I have chosen to hold my head up high and not fear intimacy with anyone. The rape took my body, it destroyed my worth, but it also made me realize how compassionate people are with one another when I opened up.
  4. Rape is a physical act that heals but the mind shelters this and creates a victimization attitude. I am not a victim. I am a survivor. I shifted the perception of this violence. I also made sure that it did not lead my future relationships.
  5. I no longer use my body or my sexuality to entice someone. I didn’t really know what an intimate relationship was until my 40’s. It had less to do with sex and more to do with truth and openness. Making love was truly not a sexual moment but a transcending act between two souls.
  6. I forgave myself for what happened. For many years I believed that I got attacked because I was curious. I heard something fall behind the mail room in our office after hours on a Friday evening. I blamed myself for this curious gene until one day I came to realize that curiosity is not to be blamed. It happened. I survived. We are past this point of holding on to the past.
  1. Mind, body and spirit are united to carry us through everything we do in our time lines. The attacker was someone’s son. He once had a childhood. He was a miserable man who needed to take a woman’s power through abusive control. But, we will forever be connected because of that event. Our paths crossed through an inconceivable act and he might never think of that young woman exposed and raw but I have sent him love through many meditations when I feel my self-worth start to shake.
  1. Finally, I no longer walk around looking at everything around me. I am oblivious to my surroundings. I don’t think about it…I just move through life with a desire to love and enjoy others. I didn’t feel this in my 20’s or 30’s. I felt fragile even though I was strong and brave.

We all wear scars, some visibly while others deep seated inside our soul. Only we know of their existence. When we are ready to share with another the scars seem to heal slowly. Those scars are road maps to the past. They can guide us with strength onto the next journey. The scar from the violence at 18 sat in silence for too long. It wasn’t until I allowed the secret to come out that I began to heal. I choose not to play the role of victim but survivor. We all survive with dignity and carry those battle scars with pride, or we can play the martyr and victim creating a story for the rest of our life. There is nothing perfect in this world.

You are not your rape. No human being deserves the fear that lives after this atrocious event. The scars live inside. They heal. But, it’s up to you to truly let it go. Forgive yourself…forgive the person who stole a part of your essence. By forgiving the person you return to your power and authentic truth. You find purpose for living. They no longer have it. Also, there is no greater power than your word. Share with another. There’s no shame for what happened to you. I am a better person, courageous, and opened because of this act. Now in my late 40’s I realize how detrimental this crime was for me to become this woman. You are not your sex. You are your power.

Life is to be attended through the joy and contentment of this beautiful journey. In the end, those are the moments that will carry you through the path of least resistance. Find the balance between the past and the present. Today, you are magnificent because of the challenges, atrocities, and scars.

Freeing Through Forgiveness

freedom

Fear paralyzes us. It holds us captive and imprisons everything we know to be true. I read somewhere that without fear there is no courage. But when you are stricken by panic and despair it’s really difficult to see bravery. I woke this morning to the sound of a world waking up. My night engulfed me with terror and nightmares. Now, listening to the birds and life I realize that other life has no hold on me any longer. I cannot understand who I was then. I cannot relate to all the acceptance of abuse. The woman I am now has no clue how I lived in that fear for so long. I just don’t know why I didn’t move forward and abandoned it. I didn’t know better. I didn’t know how. I felt the aches and pains of loneliness and responsibilities. Shame and guilt lived simultaneously drowning me to an early grave. In the middle of the night I woke in a cold sweat. I gathered my thoughts, my tears, and desperately tried to control the running of my heart. I couldn’t breathe. And softly within minutes I heard the words, “Fear not! Fear is Forgiving Everything, Acknowledging Release.”

I am who I am because of each story inside of me. Each single event led me here. I have courage, tenacity, perseverance, and a forgiving heart. The conscious mind will replay these events during sleep to clear out old hurt, make aware of new patterns, and to let go of those things we don’t always remember. Our memories store everything. I move through days without knowing what is inside of my cellular memory…until I have a horrific night and I return to a place of pain, abuse, belittling, and no self-worth.

Aha! Moments are built on these principles. Just like that I have learned to release. And, just like that I will continue to move forward. Freedom is on the other side of thoughts. I have learned to shift my perception and thoughts during waking moments. Even through nightmares I am able to understand that I cannot be hurt.

May you always find the spark of courage that turns your darkness into sunlight. You are never alone in your struggles even when your Ego tells you otherwise. I believe the Divine speaks to us through sweet whispers if we are willing to listen with an open heart. Forgive and release all! It’s never worth the weight of carrying around on your shoulders something that serves of no purpose but to belittle you even more. Have a blessed day!

Reminder of Living Fully

owning our feelings

What an amazing reminder….

For a great part of my life I blamed my circumstances (which were pivotal lessons in my growth) on another. I felt “stuck” and blamed the other person. I felt as if I was surviving and not living because of them. Freedom finally arrived when I saw them as teachers and took responsibility for the choices I made, the decisions I participated in, and the life I was living. Sure…it is a lot easier to blame someone else for our life not being how we envision it.  Sure…it is comforting to sit back and point to another for “ruining” our journey.  Sure…it is easier to be a martyr and victim than to fully take on those things and move forward with grace.  Grace is hard.  Moving on through the storm is painful at times.  But, when you own those feelings the illusion of blame and control go out the window. That’s an awareness that arrives with a sense of independence and no one or anything can replace it…ever again! This is where healing begins.

I am constantly being shown that the life I chose to lead was a blessing.  It has brought me here, to this point of my life and I must embrace it.  Every thought and action has pointed to this very moment.  I am the oldest I’ve ever been.  And, with each passing day I realize that freedom arrives in the form of forgiveness and letting go.  You are not responsible for anyone but yourself.  And, no one is responsible for you or your mishaps.  Things happen in the order that they do because they have been carefully orchestrated to move you to the highest possible awareness of the self.

I remember saying this to someone at some point a few years ago.  “Everything that has happened to me has been to enrich the evolution of my spirit.”  The woman immediately looked at me and said, “Really?  Even your rape was for the evolution of your spirit?”  (This was asked in a very patronizing tone). I recalled smiling and answered, “Especially the rape and every form of abuse thereafter because I am this person today due to the circumstances of my past.  I am not a victim.  I am a survivor.  The stories we share are molded to feelings: reactions, pity, joy, learning, teaching, and so on.  We share them because those stories are who we are.  We continue to share them because they must be removed from the depth of us in order to move on.”  I don’t think she agreed with me.  She continued to blame another for the “horrible things” that happened to her.  And, those were her stories.  We all have them.  They make our psyche, feeding Ego, and drowning Spirit.

So, as a reminder of what we are and who we can be…this very moment is a lesson.  Tomorrow will arrive with a different one once we release the old patterns of thoughts and feelings.  Blame serves no one.  Forgiveness is not for anyone else but yourself.  Stop carrying around the past on your back.  That backpack can’t hold anymore crap…!  Have a great Saturday.

The Most Powerful is Love

love and compassionAt this very moment I sit typing on my dining room table staring at the afternoon spring shower outside while smelling the soil rise to meet the sky. It is one of those smells I love most from the earth. It smells like the decomposition of release. The earth has no problem releasing. It has absolutely zero tolerance for resistance. The earth teaches us the value of allowing.
I am called to study the way I am entering into this new role again with my daughter at home. I hear a baby cooing in the next room, my daughter and her own emotions releasing into the open space (reminding me she needs to be put back on meds or I need to be given a bottle of valium for me). Her own anger is resisting release from the abuse. Yet, this morning she began making excuses for her abuser and how long he might have to be in jail. I reminded her the black eye, the cord wrapped around her neck and the huge egg on her head (given to her less than a week ago). I am always surprised at this behavior from those who have limited capabilities to process. My role is to allow her to go through the motions. I cannot do it for her. Someone has to take the pushes on the other side of the punching bag. My only job is to hold it tightly. Our home, Peaceful Quest Retreats, has a way of bringing up anything in a magnified sense that needs work. If the person isn’t aware of it…it can be nasty at first (pure explosion). I pray that as the days unfold she will see the light at the end of the tunnel and the gratitude for being alive. I pray she can sit outside in the sun and inhale the nurturing energy of these mountains. She’s entered into a place of grace, love and compassion. It has very little to do with me, Matt, or her sister. It has to do with the Divine. I am no longer holding the need to fix anyone. This dynamic is beautiful. I can love her and work on increasing a vibration of pure light in my home without attaching to her drama.
I think of my own past and how I handled abused. I placed it tightly inside the earth so that no one noticed. Even now as I work in my garden I start to feel a tug of crap coming up from those days long ago. It’s funny it arrives in moments of being outdoors touching the earth. I have understood the power of avoidance and resistance. I no longer resist emotions. Resistance has always been a pivotal lesson in my life. “That which you resists, persists,” is a perfect way to remember to let go. Clarity and openness arrives from the nature of allowing life to flow. It is extremely difficult to wrestle and battle with resistance from a human perspective driven by ego. The ego is always creating illusions, sneaking in the doubts, uncertainty, fear and anxieties. As I allow the divine spirit to expand and guide me through love everything around me is taken into a beautiful accountability of love. Fear disappears once there is no control or resistance.
I have no plan for the immediate future. My daughter asked me today, remembering how much she hated the mountains (never once did this come up when she called to come home). She asked how long she “had” to stay here as if this was punishment. I told her she didn’t “have” to do anything she didn’t want. She asked to come home and we got her. Her anger is brewing. Her illusion of a perfect life is unfolding. She doesn’t have the mental capacity to plan or anticipate the near future. I told her I had no plans, “God laughs when I make a plan.” She didn’t like that answer. I received a slight grunt for it.
The divine has a way of speaking to us while utilizing our gifts of intuition. The more we resist and ignore the lessons…well, the harder it is to live comfortably in that lie. I find that spirit usually speaks through our strengths the strongest. I keep going back to this life lesson: to love unconditionally. I am aware of the reason for this incarnation. I have no doubt about the core of this conscious life lesson. The older I get the more I expand on forgiveness and compassion all through the vessel that is love.
Relationships, whether through substance abuse, food, people, sex or drama, are addictive. For the addictive mind, we create those relationships because they somehow hold a power we are looking for in ourselves. We resist in stepping back and finding it within the layers of our consciousness. Ego creates these elaborate scenarios and through resistance of strength in ourselves we attract the destructive behaviors. It is never easy to go through the separation of old patterns. My daughter has always loved drama. Inside of her sleeps several mental disorders and the drama unfolds in a way that most people would never experience. I love her because of them and for them because they push the resistance in me. They teach me patience, love, forgiveness, compassion and strength. I am not longer the one in charged or needing to tell her what to do. This is her life. This is her lessons.
Today I’ve traveled through several emotions: disrespect, anger, ingratitude, love, grace, selflessness, exhaustion, and doubt to name a few. I no longer ignore them. This is who I am and the things that make me human. This is my current position in life and I plan on exceeding at it.  It is a bumpy ride but full of a baby cooing, smiles, beauty, innocence, hope, dreams and the most powerful force of love.